Week ahead: FCC looks to help cops crack down on threatening calls

Week ahead: FCC looks to help cops crack down on threatening calls
© Greg Nash

The Federal Communications Commission is holding its June open meeting Thursday, and topping the docket is a rule to help law enforcement crack down on threatening phone calls.

The measure would allow police to access the caller ID information of people making threat calls, and comes after a wave of bomb threats were called into Jewish Community Centers (JCC) earlier this year.

"The FCC's current rules require voice providers not to reveal blocked Caller ID information or to use that information to allow the person getting a call to contact the caller," FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wrote in a blog post earlier this month. "These rules have an important purpose, but they can raise a particular public safety concern."

Earlier this year, the FCC approved a waiver of the current rules protecting blocked caller IDs so that police could investigate the anonymous threats to Jewish centers. Senate Minority Leader Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer: GOP efforts to identify FBI informant 'close to crossing a legal line' Patients deserve the 'right to try' How the embassy move widens the partisan divide over Israel MORE (D-N.Y.) wrote to Pai, requesting the waiver.

But more controversial measures will also be hovering over the June meeting.

Pai and Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Mike O'Rielly can expect to face more questions about Pai's proposal to roll back Obama-era net neutrality measures, which he's dubbed the "Restoring Internet Freedom" plan.

Since it was introduced in April, Pai's plan has sparked controversy. Republicans in Congress and broadband companies like AT&T, Verizon and Cox Communications have vigorously supported it, arguing that the 2015 net neutrality rules stifle necessary investments in broadband.

Democrats and advocacy groups have lined up on the opposite side, arguing that rolling back net neutrality will only hurt consumers who they say have limited options in picking broadband providers.

Internet companies had been hesitant to jump into the new net neutrality fight, but have increasingly been getting off the sidelines.

On Thursday, Netflix joined Amazon, Vimeo, and the D.C. internet company trade group, the Internet Association, announcing that they would participate in advocacy group Fight For the Future's net neutrality day of action on July 12. 

Also expect more speculation in the coming week over the make-up of the FCC.

President Trump on Tuesday nominated former Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, to return to the FCC.

Trump still has to tap one more Republican commissioner.

One Republican rumored to be on the short list among industry sources is Brendan Carr. Carr previously served as an adviser to Pai and is currently general counsel at the FCC now.

Outside of the U.S. the tech world will be keeping its eyes on the European Commission, which is expected to unveil a ruling in an antitrust case involving Google soon.

The decision is expected to be the largest penalty handed to a U.S. technology company -- larger than the 1.2 billion fine handed to Intel in 2009.

The Commission, the European Union's executive arm, previously caused consternation in Silicon Valley when it handed Apple a $14.5 billion fine last year for receiving illegal state-aid for its tax arrangement with Ireland.

U.S. lawmakers and government officials have hammered the European Commission, accusing it of targeting American companies.

Congress is slated to hold several technology related hearings as well in the coming week. 

On Wednesday, the House Committee on Space, Science and Technology will hold a hearing on environmental technologies at 10 a.m.

At the same time, the House Commerce Committee's technology subpanel will convene to examine broadband expansion. And so will the Senate Commerce tech subcomittee.

The House Small Business Committee will be focusing on delivering broadband to rural areas in a hearing at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

The Senate Commerce subcommittee on space will hold a hearing at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday on commercial space exploration.


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